• SY15 Revenues increased $15.6 million or 3.2% vs. SY14.
  • SY15 SG&A expenses declined $7.5 million or 4.6% vs. SY14.
  • SY15 Adjusted EBITDA of $50.6 million improved by $4.9 million or 10.8% vs. SY14.
  • SY15 Free cash flow (leveraged) of $40.2 million, a $30.8 million year-over-year improvement vs. SY14.
  • Management provides guidance for Fiscal 2016; anticipates revenue growth of 2.5% – 3.0% and Adjusted EBITDA growth of 6.7% – 15.6% versus the comparable 2015 period.

GREENVILLE, Wis., March 09, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — School Specialty, Inc. (OTCQB:SCOO) (“School Specialty”, “SSI” or “the Company”), a leading distributor of supplies, furniture and both curriculum and supplemental learning resources to the education, healthcare and other marketplaces, today announced its Short Year 2015 (SY15) financial results.  As previously reported, School Specialty changed its fiscal year end from the last Saturday in April to the last Saturday in December.  Short Year 2015 results include the period of April 26, 2015 through December 26, 2015 whereas Short Year 2014 (SY14) results include the period of April 27, 2014 through December 27, 2014.

Joseph M. Yorio, President and Chief Executive Officer stated, “Our short year results demonstrate just how far we’ve come in driving operational efficiencies, aligning the organization, and better servicing our customers.  We returned to growth this past year, and have a clear plan to build on this momentum that brings a renewed focus on our proprietary brands and expanding into new markets.  While some business categories remain under pressure, we’re confident that the steps we’ve taken position us for growth this year.  Our expenses have come down significantly and we’re generating the savings and efficiencies we had targeted.  Our plan is to strategically invest in our business and fund those investments through a focus on continuous operational improvement.  We believe we are well positioned to show continued improvement in both top- and bottom-line performance and deliver a second straight year of strong positive cash flow.”

Short Year 2015 Results

  • Revenues were $504.3 million, an increase of $15.6 million or 3.2% as compared to revenues of $488.7 million reported for the comparable year-ago period.  Distribution segment revenues increased by $10.9 million or 2.6%, primarily as a result of continued strength in the Company’s Furniture product lines.  Furniture revenue increased by $24.8 million or 21.3%, which offset declines of $8.0 million and $3.2 million in the Agenda and Supplies categories, respectively.  Approximately $1.6 million of the Agenda revenue decline was related to foreign exchange translation (Canadian dollar); the overall foreign exchange translation impact in the Distribution segment for the comparable eight-month periods was $3.1 million.  Curriculum segment revenues increased by $4.7 million or 6.8%, driven by a revenue increase of $5.9 million, or 11.7%, in the Science category.
  • Gross margin was 37.0% as compared to 37.3%, a decline of 30 basis points (“bps”).  Distribution segment gross margin was 34.1% as compared to 35.2%, a decline of 110 bps.  The decline in Distribution segment gross margin was primarily related to a change in product mix, and the impact of the weaker Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar.  These declines were partially offset by an overall improved gross margin rate at the product category level, which netted a 50 bps improvement.  Curriculum segment gross margin was 53.4% as compared to 50.0%, an increase of 340 bps.  A decrease in product development amortization of $2.3 million resulted in a 370 bps gross margin improvement. Within the Curriculum segment, better product margins within Science helped drive the year-over-year improvement, but a shift in mix had a negative impact on Curriculum segment gross margin.
  • Selling, General & Administrative (“SG&A”) expenses were $155.6 million as compared to $163.1 million, a decrease of $7.5 million or 4.6%.  This decline was primarily related to lower compensation and benefit costs as a result of lower headcount, reduced catalog expenses driven by a reduction in catalog production costs and an increased use of digital marketing campaigns, and lower variable outbound transportation costs.  These declines were offset by an increase in incremental accrued performance-based incentive compensation, higher costs associated with select outsourcing initiatives and higher sales commissions given increased revenues.  Restructuring related costs included in SG&A declined by $3.9 million in SY15.  In SY15, the restructuring costs included a $1.2 million write-off associated with prepaid royalties related to a supplemental curriculum product, and $0.4 million associated with various software license contract terminations and restructurings.  Depreciation and amortization expense in SG&A was down approximately $0.6 million due primarily to the write-off of the intangible asset associated with Agenda content.  As a percentage of revenue, SG&A decreased from 33.4% to 30.9% for the eight-month comparable period.
  • Operating income was $29.9 million as compared to $15.2 million, an increase of $14.7 million, or 96.7%, as the result of higher revenues and lower SG&A costs.
  • Net income was $15.3 million as compared to $1.3 million, a $14.0 million improvement.
  • Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was $50.6 million as compared to $45.7 million, an improvement of $4.9 million or 10.8%. 

Yorio continued, “We had one of the best operational peak-seasons in our company history and followed through with 18% revenue growth over the past two months.  Within Distribution, nearly all of our reported product categories showed growth and within Curriculum, Science revenue growth of 42% more than offset a modest decline in Reading.  The growth we experienced in each of the Short Year periods is a clear indication that our strategy is working; however, our plan is to leverage investments in our business to deliver more balanced growth in 2016.  While some of the investments in our business and our people may delay more substantial bottom-line gains in 2016, they are necessary and position us for sustainable growth.  We are focused on building this business for the long-term, while continuing to deliver strong financial performance in the near term.”

Financial Outlook
The Company today provided guidance for FY16.  Guidance for FY16 is for the period December 27, 2015 – December 31, 2016 and this compares to actual results for the twelve month period of December 28, 2014 – December 26, 2015.  Total FY16 revenues are anticipated to increase by approximately 2.5% – 3.0%, and reported gross profit margins are anticipated to improve by 30 to 50 bps driven by lower product development amortization costs.  SG&A expenses are expected to decline by approximately 2.5% – 3.2%; SG&A expenses excluding depreciation and amortization are expected to be essentially flat year-over-year. The Company anticipates FY16 Adjusted EBITDA to be approximately $48 – $52 million, representing year-over-year improvement of 6.7% – 15.6%.  The Company anticipates continued strong free cash flow of approximately $20.0 million for Fiscal 2016.  Additional information on the Company’s outlook for 2016 can be found in the investor presentation on page 16, which will be published shortly under the Investor Relations section of the Company’s website.

School Specialty will be hosting a teleconference and webcast tomorrow, March 10 at 9:00 a.m. ET to discuss its results of operations and outlook.  Speaking from management will be Joseph M. Yorio, President and Chief Executive Officer and Ryan M. Bohr, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Conference Call Information

  • Toll-free number: 877-266-0479 / International number: 920-663-6267 / Conference ID: 65412091

For those who will be unable to participate, a teleconference replay will be available approximately five hours after the completion of the call and will last for one week (3/10/16 – 3/17/16).

Replay Information

  • Replay: 855-859-2056 / International replay: 404-537-3406 / Conference ID: 65412091

Interested parties can also participate in the live webcast or can access the archived call shortly thereafter, by visiting the School Specialty website in the Investor Relations section at http://investors.schoolspecialty.com.

About School Specialty, Inc.
School Specialty is a leading distributor of innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to the education marketplace.  The Company designs, develops, and provides educators with the latest and very best school supplies, furniture and both curriculum and supplemental learning resources.  Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential.  Through its SSI Guardian subsidiary, the Company is also committed to school, healthcare and corporate workplace safety by offering the highest quality curriculum, training and safety and security products.  Through its recently launched SOAR Life Products brand, the Company offers thousands of products that sharpen cognitive skills and build physical and mental strength in fun and creative ways. From childhood through adulthood, they help individuals live life to the fullest – engaged, happy and well.  SOAR Life Products is a customized offering for hospitals, long-term care, therapeutic facilities, home care, surgery centers, day care centers, physician offices, and clinics.  For more information about School Specialty, visit www.schoolspecialty.com.

Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Information
Any statements made in this press release about School Specialty’s future financial condition, results of operations, expectations, plans, or prospects, including the information under the heading “Financial Outlook” constitute forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements also include those preceded or followed by the words “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “projects,” “should,” “targets” and/or similar expressions.  These forward-looking statements are based on School Specialty’s current estimates and assumptions and, as such, involve uncertainty and risk. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements because of a number of factors, including the factors described in Item 1A of School Specialty’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the 35-week transition period ended December 26, 2015, which factors are incorporated herein by reference.  Any forward-looking statement in this release speaks only as of the date in which it is made.  Except to the extent required under the federal securities laws, School Specialty does not intend to update or revise the forward-looking statements.

Non-GAAP Financial Information
This press release includes references to Adjusted EBITDA and leveraged free cash flow, non-GAAP financial measures.  Adjusted EBITDA and leveraged free cash flow are used by management as measures for judging the Company’s operating performance and for estimating the Company’s earnings growth prospects.  Adjusted EBITDA represents net income adjusted for: provision for (benefit from) income taxes; reorganization items, net; restructuring costs; restructuring-related costs included in SG&A; change in fair value of interest rate swap; loss on early extinguishment of debt; early termination fee; depreciation and amortization expense; amortization of development costs; net interest expense; and stock-based compensation.  Adjusted EBITDA does not represent, and should not be considered, an alternative to net income or operating income as determined by GAAP, and our calculation may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies.  Leverage free cash flow represented Adjusted EBITDA adjusted for: capital expenditures; product development expenditures; proceeds from asset sales; restructuring and other expenditures; changes in working capital; cash interest and taxes.  Leveraged free cash flow does not represent, and should not be considered, an alternative to cash flow from operations. The two month and 12-month presentations that follow are also characterized as Non-GAAP.

(In Thousands, Except Per Share Amounts)
    Two Months Ended
December 26, 2015 (unaudited/Non-GAAP)
  Two Months Ended
December 27, 2014 (unaudited/Non-GAAP)
  Eight Months Ended
December 26, 2015 (audited)
  Eight Months Ended
December 27, 2014 (unaudited/Non-GAAP)
  Twelve Months Ended
December 26, 2015 (unaudited/Non-GAAP)
  Twelve Months Ended
December 27, 2014 (unaudited/Non-GAAP)
Revenues   $ 59,600     $ 50,543     $ 504,278     $ 488,682     $ 637,464     $ 622,679  
Cost of revenues     39,748       33,726       317,891       306,478       405,123       388,551  
Gross profit     19,852       16,817       186,387       182,204       232,341       234,128  
Selling, general and administrative expenses     36,702       33,301       155,593       163,135       224,937       233,990  
Impairment charges                           2,713        
Facility exit costs and restructuring   122       1,778       901       3,840       3,117       4,764  
Operating income (loss)     (16,972 )     (18,262 )     29,893       15,229       1,574       (4,626 )
Other expense:                        
Interest expense     3,064       3,254       12,973       13,734       18,838       20,079  
Early termination of long-term indebtedness               200             200        
Loss on early extinguishment of debt                 877             877        
Reorganization items, net                       271             1,487  
Change in fair value of interest rate swap     (58 )     (122 )     (174 )     (93 )     (125 )     (231 )
Income (loss) before provision for income taxes     (19,978 )     (21,394 )     16,017       1,317       (18,216 )     (25,961 )
Provision for (benefit from) income taxes     (496 )     68       716       (25 )     1,358       (159 )
Net income (loss)   $ (19,482 )   $ (21,462 )   $ 15,301     $ 1,342     $ (19,574 )   $ (25,802 )
Weighted average shares outstanding:                        
Basic     1,000       1,000       1,000       1,000       1,000       1,000  
Diluted     1,000       1,000       1,000       1,000       1,000       1,000  
Net Income per Share:                        
Basic   $ (19.48 )   $ (21.46 )   $ 15.30     $ 1.34     $ (19.57 )   $ (25.80 )
Diluted   $ (19.48 )   $ (21.46 )   $ 15.30     $ 1.34     $ (19.57 )   $ (25.80 )
    Two Months Ended
December 26, 2015 (unaudited/Non-GAAP)
  Two Months Ended
December 27, 2014 (unaudited/Non-GAAP)
  Eight Months Ended
December 26, 2015 (audited)
  Eight Months Ended
December 27, 2014 (unaudited/Non-GAAP)
  Twelve Months Ended
December 26, 2015 (unaudited/Non-GAAP)
  Twelve Months Ended
December 27, 2014 (unaudited/Non-GAAP)
Adjusted Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation,                
amortization, bankruptcy-related costs,  restructuring and impairment              
charges (EBITDA) reconciliation:                    
Net income (loss) $ (19,482 )   $ (21,462 )   $ 15,301     $ 1,342     $ (19,574 )   $ (25,802 )
Provision for (benefit from) income taxes   (496 )     68       716       (25 )     1,358       (159 )
Reorganization items, net                     271             1,487  
Restructuring costs   122       1,778       901       3,840       3,117       4,764  
Restructuring-related costs incl in SG&A/cost of revenues     1,174       360       2,141       6,066       6,398       9,606  
Change in fair value of interest rate swap   (58 )     (122 )     (174 )     (93 )     (125 )     (231 )
Loss on early extinguishment of debt               877             877        
Early termination fee               200             200        
Depreciation and amortization expense   3,105       3,215       11,645       12,267       18,611       18,327  
Amortization of development costs   958       1,162       5,291       8,111       11,490       9,897  
Impairment charges                           2,713        
Net interest expense   3,064       3,254       12,973       13,734       18,838       20,079  
Stock-based compensation   174             695       141       1,135       141  
Adjusted EBITDA $ (11,439 )   $ (11,747 )   $ 50,566     $ 45,654     $ 45,038     $ 38,109  

(In Thousands, Except Share Data)
              December 26, 2015
  December 27, 2014
Current assets:        
  Cash and cash equivalents   $ 12,865     $ 11,965  
  Accounts receivable, less allowance for doubtful accounts        
    of $1,077 and $748, respectively     58,370       60,965  
  Inventories, net     76,199       75,220  
  Deferred catalog costs     6,527       7,338  
  Prepaid expenses and other current assets     13,111       16,635  
  Refundable income taxes     9       471  
  Asset held for sale           2,200  
    Total current assets     167,081       174,794  
Property, plant and equipment, net     27,127       35,989  
Goodwill     21,588       21,588  
Intangible assets, net     38,652       45,078  
Development costs and other, net     23,911       32,444  
Deferred taxes long-term     5       13  
Investment in unconsolidated affiliate     715       715  
    Total assets   $ 279,079     $ 310,621  
Current liabilities:        
  Current maturities of long-term debt     1,821       7,850  
  Accounts payable     20,076       22,136  
  Accrued compensation     10,488       4,212  
  Deferred revenue     2,705       2,612  
  Accrued royalties   3,091       2,541  
  Other accrued liabilities     11,703       11,372  
    Total current liabilities     49,884       50,723  
Long-term debt less current maturities     147,028       156,765  
Other liabilities     561       570  
    Total liabilities     197,473       208,058  
Stockholders’ equity:        
  Preferred stock, $0.001 par value per share, 500,000        
  shares authorized; none outstanding            
  Common stock, $0.001 par value per share, 2,000,000 shares        
  authorized; 1,000,004 shares outstanding     1       1  
  Capital in excess of par value     119,240       119,532  
  Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)     (1,919 )     (819 )
  Accumulated deficit     (35,716 )     (16,151 )
  Total stockholders’ equity     81,606       102,563  
  Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity   $ 279,079     $ 310,621  
Company Contact
Ryan Bohr
Tel: 920-882-5868

Investor and Media Relations Contact
Glenn Wiener
Tel: 212-786-6011 

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